Archive | July, 2011

“you know what, michelle. you only turn 60 once.”

29 Jul

Yes, dad. You do only turn 60 once – and I hope you had a great time doing it!

My dad had his birthday birthday last weekend and we celebrated, like always at the racetrack followed by a big party at our house. The party was a little different this year with an Old Style keg, koozie party favors and a bit more people than usual. But there was thing that didn’t change – a giant cake.

We were keeping the extent of the party a secret, but since I’m nuts and always make a big cake for his birthday, I lucked out and didn’t have to secretly bake 6 layers – 4 banana cakes, 1 brownie layer and 1 Hershey’s chocolate cake.

All of the cakes were great – the banana layers were fresh, even though they were baked days in advance, and I was amazed by the Hershey cake – it started as a liquid!

I filled them all with fluffy pudding cool whip frosting and used edible arrangement sticks to make sure my tower didn’t fall down (something I’ve done wrong before…)

Then I frosted the giant tower with my favorite frosting, dyed blue, of course and set it up in the fridge. I didn’t decorate it til the morning of the party so that my dad didn’t know what it was, it turned out great and delicious.



my dollar signs have two lines

28 Jul

My littlest nephew, Harrison turned 1 and celebrated with a shipwrecked themed, pirate birthday! I offered to make sugar cookies for the party because I know how much my brother loves them. These cookies have always been a favorite of our family, ever since my mom found the recipe in a magazine over 20 years ago. The cookies are great for many different kinds of shapes and were a staple at our birthday parties growing up.

I was going to make skull and crossbones or pirate hat cookies, but then I realized I didn’t have a lot of time, so I had the brilliant idea to make gold coins – circles are really easy to cookie cut! I popped these guys out super fast and went on to decorate them with yellow-gold icing, which you can watch here:

As I said in the video – I had to decorate my dollar signs with two lines!


So yummy, so pretty, so forgot to bring to the party

27 Jul

July has been a sweet month, full of fun and festive desserts for me, it all started with these fantastical, yes, fantastical, brownies.

As you know, I make brownies from a box, and these were no different – except I had a super fun idea to make them patriotic. It worked well and I will definitely repeat this tactic in the future. When the brownies had 10 minutes left, I spread large marshmallows, that I had cut in half (the hamburger-fold way) around the baking dish. I then sprinkled about half of my sprinkles on the marshmallows.

I let them cook the rest of the time and when I took the brownies out of the oven, I put the rest of my sprinkles on, since the marshmallows had spread, there were some empty spots at this point. Then I let them cool and cut them – amazingly moist and gooey. Probably the best brownie addition I’ve ever made. I packed them up to bring to the 4th of July party I was on my way to… and I left them on my kitchen table.

Well, my dad enjoyed them, so that’s good.

Light & Fluffy christening

4 Jul

My newest niece was christened last week and I wanted to do something different from the traditional sheet cake for her dessert, so I decided on a cross cake and mini cupcakes, though then I realized how tiny they were and also added regular sized ones.

I haven’t baked cupcakes in a while and was craving graham cracker batter, my favorite, and whipped some up for the cakes. For the frosting, my first thought was something marshmallowy, but then I realized that my work weekend wasn’t going to give me a lot of free time, so I remembered the quickest frosting ever – cool whip pudding frosting.

This frosting takes about 5 minutes, is amazingly fluffy and actually kind of healthy. I used fat-free cool whip and sugar-free pudding, and really all that is added is the small amount of powdered sugar. You can even eat this as a dessert on its own, or put it as a topper for brownies or maybe a sugar cookie with fruit, like a little dessert pizza.

I used vanilla pudding for the cross and the mini cupcakes and chocolate for the bigger ones, both complemented the graham cake very well, and the mini cupcakes were a great choice for my 4-year old niece and her little buddies.

Congratulations, Ava!!

Cool off with Cool Whip

2 Jul

My favorite things about summer desserts is being inventive. Sometimes I think the warm weather brings out twists you wouldn’t always think to do in the winter.

My mom held her monthly quilting group lunch here last week and handed me a weight watchers recipe to make, this little recipe was so smart and not even really “diet.” The basis was cool whip, cocoa powder, crushed chocolate wafer cookies and milk and I will say mini frozen cool whips are yummy! I will be re-enacting these little guys sometime soon for sure.

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